1. Home
  2. Skeleton
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Indications
  5. Treatment

Authors of section


Derek Donegan, Michael Huo, Michael Leslie

Executive editor

Michael Baumgaertner

Open all credits

ORIF of posterior fractures with or without cup revision

1. Principles

Successful treatment of acetabular fractures noted intraoperatively is critical to achieve component ingrowth, pain control and long-term survivorship of the arthroplasty.

For further information about standard techniques for ORIF in native acetabular fractures, please refer to the acetabulum section of the AOSR.

ORIF of posterior moiety fractures

2. Approach and extension for fracture visualization

Intraoperative unstable fractures already have a significant surgical approach that can be extended to address the fracture. New minimally invasive techniques make it more challenging to diagnose these fractures.

Surgeons that routinely utilize fluoroscopy during total hip replacement have the advantage of identifying fractures fluoroscopically. Without fluoroscopy, diagnosis depends on surgeon experience noting abnormal cup mechanics during insertion.

The surgical approach may predict the fracture location:

In the setting of a posterior acetabular fracture, and the cup is unstable, the standard surgical approach should be enlarged to evaluate the posterior column and the posterior wall.

The patient can be in a lateral or supine position.

If extending the surgical approach does not allow adequate fracture evaluation, removal of the cup and direct visualization of the acetabulum is beneficial.

Anatomy of the posterior moiety of the acetabulum

Posterior extension is achieved dissection outside the capsule of the hip onto the retroacetabular surface with placement of blunt, hand-held retractors into the greater sciatic notch.

Posterior exposure of the hip

This is similar to a Kocher-Langenbeck approach; however, the short external rotators have typically been released at the level of the proximal femur. If a piriformis sparing approach has been utilized, but a fracture is suspected, the piriformis should be released to protect the sciatic nerve.

Modified Kocher-Langenbeck approach

The hip should be extended past neutral, and the knee should be flexed greater than 60 degrees. This will allow fracture visualization.

The sciatic nerve is safely retracted with less tension.

Patient positioning

3. Cup removal

Acetabular component removal for a fracture occurred during cup insertion

If the fracture occurs during cup insertion and the cup fixation is deemed unstable, cup removal and revision/fixation are indicated. Cup removal is relatively easy using the same instruments as used for cup insertion.

P290 ORIF of posterior moiety fractures

4. Reduction and fixation of posterior fractures

The surgeon should assess the location, stability, and extension of the fracture(s) by visual inspection. If available, intraoperative imaging may also be used.

Posterior wall fracture

Fracture reduction

In these fractures, anatomic reduction of the articular surface is not relevant. Columnar stability and wall containment are needed.

Posterior fractures can be treated as native fractures of the acetabulum with direct reduction of the cortical margin.

Direct reduction of posterior wall fracture

If there is a transverse fracture or a posterior column fracture, utilization of pelvic reduction clamps might be helpful.

Direct reduction of transverse fracture

Posterior wall fracture stabilization

Posterior wall fractures should be stabilized in buttress mode with lag screw fixation when possible. Attention should be paid to maximal stability with minimal implants to avoid conflict between screws from the acetabular component and the fixation.

Posterior wall fracture stabilization

Posterior column fracture stabilization

Posterior column fractures can be stabilized utilizing intramedullary screws or compression with reconstruction plates as in native acetabular fractures.

Posterior column fracture stabilization

Radiographic confirmation

Reduction and stabilization of the fracture should be confirmed using fluoroscopy.

5. New acetabular cup insertion

With the anatomy of the acetabulum restored, a standard multi-hole cup can be utilized.

Multihole pressfit cup

Acetabular reaming

The acetabulum should be reamed gently as not to compromise the reduction. The new cup can be implanted.

Note: Reverse reaming minimizes the risk of loss of fixation.
Acetabular reaming

New cup positioning

The surgeon should insert the new cup following the recommended position (inclination) and orientation (anteversion) guidelines.

The accepted "safe zone" is:

  • cup inclination 40° to 55° (a)
  • cup anteversion 20° to 40° (b)
New cup positioning and orientation

New cup impaction

The appropriate cup is inserted using implant system specific instruments.

New cup impaction

Cup screw fixation

The cup should achieve rim fit. Insert multiple screws in different planes to achieve stabilization to allow bony ingrowth.

Cup screw fixation

The screws, if possible, should span either side of the fracture. Any residual bony defects should undergo bone grafting with autograft or allograft, per surgeon's preference.

Screw directions

For further details about the multihole pressfit cup implantation please refer to the treatment: Revision of cup to multihole pressfit cup.

6. Aftercare following ORIF

Postoperative management

Postoperative management should include careful monitoring of hematocrit and electrolytes particularly in the elderly patients.

Postoperative IV antibiotics should be administered up to 24 hours.

Consideration should be given to anticoagulation for a minimal course of 35 days. If there are thromboembolic complication this treatment is extended.

Drains can be discontinued when output is less than 30 to 50 cc per 12 hours.

Patient mobilization

Immediate mobilization of the patient should commence. If fracture stability will allow, the patient should be made weight bearing as tolerated as soon as possible. Long periods of limited weight bearing are extremely detrimental to patient recovery.

Patient mobilization with limited weight bearing

Precautions against hip dislocation

Hip precautions can be extremely important in patients who have suffered intraoperative acetabular fracture. Much work has been done to minimize the surgical exposure during hip arthroplasty to decrease the risk of dislocation. These advantages are typically removed when acetabular stabilization need to be performed. A dislocation in the postoperative course of such a patient can be disastrous.

Patients are instructed to follow standard hip precautions against dislocation based upon the surgical approaches for hip arthroplasty.

Wound healing

Avoidance of edema postoperatively is critical for both wound healing and patient mobilization. This can be aided by pneumatic compression devices. If negative pressure wound therapy is utilized, it can be discontinued after 5 to 7 days. Staples or sutures are typically removed at 14 to 21 days.

Pneumatic compression device